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Mumbai

Russia's Sistema sends notice to India to settle dispute about revocation of 2G licences

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Russia's Sistema today said it had sent a notice to the Government of India notifying it of a dispute arising out of the Supreme Court's decision of February 2 cancelling the 122 licenses issued to all operators on and from January 10, 2008 by then Communications Minister A Raja, holding them illegal.

The licences revoked by the order also include 21 licences issued to Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd. (SSTL), in which Sistema, the largest diversified public financial corporation in Russia and the CIS, owns a 56.68 per cent share.
 
Sistema has issued the notice under the provisions of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)between the Governments of Russia and India.
 
"Sistema believes that the cancellation of SSTL's licenses following Sistema's investment of billions of dollars into the Indian cellular sector is contrary to India’s obligations under the BIT, including obligations to provide investments with full protection and security and obligations not to expropriate investments.
 
A statement from the company said the formal notice requests the Government to settle the dispute relating to the revocation of SSTL's 21 telecom licenses in an amicable way within six months. 
 
"If the dispute is not amicably resolved by August 28, 2012 Sistema reserves the right to commence proceedings against The Republic of India as provided in the BIT," the statement added.
 
Sistema believes it has a strong case and reserves the right to commence proceedings against India before an international arbitration tribunal set up in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and/or in any other available forum if the dispute is not settled amicably within the deadline of 6 months.
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Vsevolod Rozanov, President and CEO, SSTL, said, “I would like to confirm that Sistema JSFC, the majority shareholder in Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd has invoked its right under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Russia and India and has approached the Indian Government to protect its investments in the country."
 
"We have always maintained that all our investors including Sistema JSFC and Rosimushestvo, the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management, are being penalized for acting in good faith and in reliance on the appropriateness of the procedures established by India’s telecommunications authorities," he said.
 
“SSTL is a national telecom operator serving more than 15 million customers, employs over 3500 employees, operates through a universe of over 300,000 retailers and has made investments of over $ 3.1 billion. To protect its business, the company also plans to contest the Supreme Court order by filing a review petition within this week before the highest court of the land," Rozanov added.
 
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Essar Shipping inducts second MiniCape vessel into its fleet

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Essar Shipping Limited (ESL), a part of the Essar Group, today said it had taken delivery of MV “Arun”, its second Mini Cape vessel, and inducted it into its fleet.
 
The vessel is 253 metre long, 43 metre wide and has a cargo capacity of 105000 dwt. Essar Shipping has a total capex plan of $ 1 billion out of which $ 600 million is for acquiring 12 vessels and about $ 450 million is for acquiring two jack up rigs.
 
“The delivery of the second Mini Cape further strengthens our fleet. This is in line with our plan to acquire vessels that carry larger parcels at economic costs and suits Indian conditions.  In line with its policy to acquire vessels backed by cargo, MV Arun has already been deployed for transportation of coal from Australia," A. R. Ramakrishnan- Managing Director, Essar Shipping Limited said.

National Veterans TT: Rai, Desai, Chopra win titles in +49, +59, +39 events

Maharashtra's Yogesh Desai after winning the +59 men's singles title at the National Veterans Table Tennis Championships at Gangtok, Sikkim, on February 24, 2012.
Maharashtra's Yogesh Desai after winning the +59 men's singles title at the National Veterans Table Tennis Championships at Gangtok, Sikkim, on February 24, 2012.
West Bengal, led by former international Nupur Santra, won the gold medal in the men's +39 team event, beating Haryana 3-1 in the finals of the 19th National Veterans Table Tennis Championships held at the Paljor Stadium at Gangtok in Sikkim last week.
 
Gujarat's Sonal Joshi and former state champion Roshan Jam helped their team win the +39 women's team event, beating West Bengal 3-2.
 
The consistent K K Rai of Maharashtra continued his dominance in the +49 event, wining his third national title in four years, beating Pankaj Sharma of Punjab 11-7,11-8,7-11,9-11, 14-12 in the final that went the full distance.
 
Another evergreen Maharashtra star Yogesh Desai, former Gujarat player, easily won his second national title by convincingly beating Sadhan Dutta of West Bengal 11-7, 11-7, 11-6. He last won the national title in +49 men's singles category in 2005 in Mumbai and was a bronze medal winner in the +49 men's singles at the 3rd Asian Championship in May 2011.
 
Harsh Chopra of New Delhi retained his men's singles title in the +39 category by beating Nupur Santra of West Bengal 3-2 in a hard fought final. Chopra is the reigning Asian Veterans Champion in +39 men's singles event, which he won last year at Pattaya, Thailand.
 
G V S V Rao of Andhra Pradesh won the title in +65 men's singles event.
 
Gujarat’s Sonal Joshi easily defeated Monto Mormu of West Bengal 3-0 to clinch the women's singles national title in the +39 category.
 
Overall, Maharashtra players performed creditably in this years championships, winning about 25 medals in the individual events.
 
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Mother Dairy introduces fruit yoghurts in four flavours

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Mother Dairy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), today announced the launch of fruit yoghurts which will be available in 4 variants- Blueberry, Raspberry, Mango and Plum.
 
"This new offering from the Mother Dairy basket will allow consumers of Mumbai to experience real fruits in their daily consumption of yoghurts at affordable prices," a press release from the company said.
 
Along with fruit yoghurts, Mother Dairy has also launched Mishti Doi (sweetened curd) in Mumbai, the release said.

Mumbai airport to be closed for traffic for 5 hours today and on March 3 and 10

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai will remain closed for five hours from 1130 hours to 1630 hours today due to the work being carried out for a new Rapid Exit Taxiway (RET) to enhance the efficiency of runway RWY 09/27.

Apart from today, there will be no operations at CSIA for five hours on the next two Saturdays also -- March 3 and March 10, a press release from Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) said.
 
It said MIAL had been consistently working on creating an upgraded airside infrastructure at CSIA for the long term benefits of airlines and passengers.
 
"MIAL has initiated the construction of a new Rapid Exit Taxiway (RET) to enhance the runway efficiency of RWY 09/27. The RETL is being laid for this new taxiway. As part of the scheduled closure (1130hrs to 1630hrs) there will be no operations at CSIA. This closure is scheduled for three consecutive Saturdays  – namely February 25, March 03 and March 10, 2012," the release said.
 
The scheduled closure was planned in consultation with all the stakeholders including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India (AAI), and the airlines. "Thereby no inconvenience  will be  caused to  the passengers," the release added.
 
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Victoria Racing Club promotes Emirates Melbourne Cup in India

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Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Australia’s premier racing club, in conjunction  the Victorian State Government Super Trade Mission,  chose Mumbai to tour its world-famous 18-carat gold Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy to promote bilateral trade, tourism and strategic alliances between Australia and India. 

Worth approximately Rs 312 million I($A 6.2 million) in 2012, the Emirates Melbourne Cup is one of the world’s most valuable thoroughbred races.  
 
An exclusive dinner to celebrate "the race that stops a nation" here last night was attended by special guests including Louise Asher, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Innovation Services and Small Business, representing the State Government of Victoria, Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese; Emirates Airline Regional Manager Western India Sunil Kallyat and VRC Vice Chairman Amanda Elliott.
 
"The Victoria Racing Club is extremely honoured that the Victorian State Government chose the Emirates Melbourne Cup as the iconic Melbourne event to showcase during its Super Trade Mission to India,” said Elliott.
 
Hosted by Sky International commentator, David Raphael, the gala dinner included a special guest appearance by one of the world’s most celebrated jockeys, Frenchman Christophe Lemaire, winner of last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.  Lemaire, whose career includes rides in India, was presented with the time-honoured 2011 Wirth’s Whip trophy – presented annually to the Emirates Melbourne Cup-winning jockey - as part of the official proceedings.
 
Following a millinery parade showcasing pieces from their latest collections, leading Australian milliner Richard Nylon and Indian designer  Little Shilpa shared their insights into 
racewear fashion.  
 
The four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival attracts over 350,000 people to Flemington racecourse. In 2010, the Carnival was experienced by over 19,000 overseas visitors and generated a gross economic  benefit of over $A 349 million to the Victorian state economy and over $A 728 million to the Australian economy.  
 
The Emirates Melbourne Cup regularly attracts international and local celebrities, major corporate sponsors and media from around the world, and in is viewed by millions of people, in 120 countries and territories, across the globe.
 
The fashion industry in particular benefitted with people spending more than $A 26 million in Victoria alone on fashion items for the 2010 Melbourne Cup Carnival. Racegoers purchased more than 52,000 hats, 36,659 dresses, 8,682 suits and 37,623 pairs of shoes, while overseas visitors spent an average of 4.2 nights per person in commercial accommodation during Carnival week. 
 
More than  $A 17 million in total prize money and eight Group 1 races are on offer at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival, which starts on November 3 with AAMI Victoria Derby Day and concludes on November 10 with Emirates Stakes Day. 
 
Held in Melbourne at Flemington Racecourse, the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) attracts over 100,000 people on-course and is the main drawcard of the VRC’s annual Melbourne Cup Carnival.   Such is its importance to Melburnians, Emirates Melbourne Cup Day is recognised with a public holiday in its home city.
 
Elliott said the Melbourne Cup Carnival shares an indelible link with India. “With a strong focus on the relationships across business, lifestyle, tourism, trade and racing, our visit to India will highlight the cultural, social and economic significance between our countries,” she said.
 
Australia and India have shared strong racing links as early as 1934, when Australian jockey Edgar Britt accepted a retainer to ride in India. During his ten year stay, Britt rode for various Maharajas, headed the jockeys’ premiership eight times and won every feature race in India. 
 
The 1993 Melbourne Cup winning jockey Irishman Michael Kinane is a winner of the Mumbai Derby. 
 
Over time bilateral links have been strengthened through a long and successful relationship, and today India and the State of Victoria are closely connected culturally, as well as through trade and tourism. 
 
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RIL adds $ 500 million to dollar notes due 2022

Oil, gas and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said that its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Holding USA had sold $ 500 million more of its existing 5.4 per cent bonds due February 2022.

The additional notes will be consolidated and form a single series with the $1,000 million 5.4% Guaranteed Senior Notes due 2022 and will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed by RIL, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said the transaction was approximately 7.5 times over-subscribed with an order book aggregating $ 3.73 billion from high quality investor accounts.  This transaction was priced through secondaries with support from nearly 213 accounts in Asia, Europe and the United States participating in the transaction.

Bachchan discharged from Mumbai hospital, 12 days after surgery

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who underwent a surgery on February 11 at the Seven Hills Hospital here after suffering from pain in the abdomen, was discharged from the hospital last night.

"Just discharged from hospital and am back home in familiar surroundings, gently taking in all that now engulfs me," the 69-year-old actor said on his blog in a post late last night.
 
"The surgery discomfort and soreness persists, but will take a while to finally erase itself from the pain glands, but in all, apart from a sluggish movement, God's grace and prayers of the Ef (extended family - a reference to his huge fan following) have put me back on track again. My most gracious thanks to all …," he said.
 
"The staff and the nurses at 7 Hills were all smiles and expressed sadness that I was leaving, which was rather sweet of them. They would miss me, they said, but hoped I would never have to come back again in adverse circumstances," he wrote.
 
Bachchan, however, was upset by the huge number of press photographers who blocked his car as he was leaving so that they could take some pictures.
 
"The paparazzi, though kept away from the premises of the hospital, were there at the entrance and throughout the journey home, blocking the movement of the car by standing in front and on top of the vehicle, which was disturbing. I have yet to see them understand the sensitivity of a situation such as this. A patient just released from hospital needs to get back to his home and secure from the travel, to it, as soon as possible, but I guess they would rather get their exclusive photograph than have such consideration.
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"A pleasant request falls on dumb ears and anything stronger than that shall be legitimate invitation to their wrath, of being manhandled. A complicated procedure would then follow resulting in nothing, but a severe negativeness against the celebrity, and more. One has learnt over the years that any thought of controlling them is futile. Better then to tolerate this excessive intrusiveness and move on," he said.
 
Bachchan wrote that his son Abhishek, also an actor, made a five-hour journey from from Wai, where he was shooting for "Bol Bachchan", to be with him when he returned home from hospital. He was due to drive back this morning to join the rest of the crew for shooting.
 
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie, and his present medical problems appear to be connected with that injury. He had been hospitalised for many months after the 1982 injury and hundreds of fans had camped outside the hospital and thousands more had prayed for him around the country.
 
Bachchan had said on his blog, after being admitted to the hospital, that the problem he was being treated for was "a legacy of the past, in particular the accident of 1982 and Coolie".
 
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Rahul Bhatia chosen for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 2011

Rahul Bhatia
Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia, Group Managing Director, InterGlobe Enterprises, a travel company has been named as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2011. 

Seven other successful entrepreneurs received these coveted awards across various categories at a function here yesterday.
 
Bhatia will now represent India at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Monte Carlo, Monaco this year. 
 
"Under his able captainship, Mr Bhatia has charted one of the most inspiring success stories in Indian aviation by creating India's biggest low-cost carrier. The fact that such success was achieved in a competitive environment with several established players makes his achievement even more remarkable. Mr. Bhatia has the distinction of having won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year award in the Services category in 2010," a press release from Ernst & Young said.
 
Over 300 nominations were received for the Entrepreneur Of the Year 2011 and the winners were selected by a jury panel led by R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki Limited.
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The jury also named Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC for the Lifetime Achievement Award,  recognizing his immense contribution to the emergence of financial services in the country, as also to policy -making.
 
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) programme, now in its 13th year in India, is widely recognized as a premier business award and is the only global award programme to recognize entrepreneurs.
 
Rajiv Memani, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, said, "We have always valued our association with entrepreneurs, who are the prime movers of the economy. Each of our winners this year has an extraordinary story, but apart from their size and scale, the common thread which binds them together is their intense focus on the customer. These individuals are providing a differential value proposition to customers by effectively using technology and innovation. We salute their achievements." 
 
The following are the other winners:
 
. Business Transformation: Deep Kalra, Founder & CEO, Makemytrip (India); 
. Consumer Products: Anand Burman, Chairman, Dabur India;
. Life Sciences and Healthcare: Desh Bandhu Gupta, Founder & Chairman, Lupin; 
. Manager: Natarajan Chandrasekaran, MD & CEO, Tata Consultancy Services;
. Manufacturing: Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Founder & Chairman, Samvardhana Motherson Group;
. Services: Analjit Singh, Founder & Chairman, Max India Group;
. Start-up : Dr. BS Ajaikumar, Founder & Chairman, Healthcare Global Enterprises; 
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Farokh Balsara, Partner and Leader - Entrepreneur of the Year Programme, Ernst & Young India, said: "The programme is evolving each year, reflecting the transformation in our economy. The outstanding number of nominations this year reflects not only the appeal of our program, but also the confidence and conviction demonstrated by Indian entrepreneurs today. Many of our winners have gone on to boldly acquire and integrate new businesses, pioneered path-breaking innovations and created unique business models which are touching the lives of millions of people in urban and rural India."
 
Apart from Bhargava, other members of the jury were Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank; Dalip Pathak, Warburg Pincus International; G.V. Prasad, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories; Sanjay Nayar, KKR (India); Sunil Kant Munjal, Hero Corporate Service; and S Ramadorai, Tata Consultancy Services. 
 
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Prime Focus Technologies to help digitize Associated Press' video archives

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International news agency Associated Press (AP) is working with Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) to digitize its unique video archive, making it available to a whole new audience across digital platforms. 

AP’s film and tape archive contains around 70,000 hours of footage, including more than 1.3 million global news and entertainment stories, in 16mm film and videotape, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, a press release from PFT said here today.
 
According to it, the project is part of AP’s multimillion-dollar upgrade to its video business which will see AP switch its entire newsgathering, production and distribution systems to HD to continue to meet the technical, editorial and business needs of its customers in the digital age.

Iconix, Reliance Brands announce formation of new JV in India

Reliance logo
Reliance logo
Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ICON) and Reliance Brands Limited, a part of the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Group, the largest private sector company in India, today announced the formation of a joint venture company in India.  
 
The partnership marks the next step in a global expansion strategy for Iconix, which currently has other similar partnerships in Greater China, Europe and Latin America, a press release from the company said.
 
The new joint venture will own the fashion and home brands from the Iconix portfolio for the Indian territory, which includes iconic brands such as Ed Hardy, Mossimo, London Fog and Ocean Pacific.  
 
The new joint venture, which will be based in Mumbai, will follow a similar business model to that of Iconix in North America, which focuses on growing royalty revenue through existing and new licensing agreements with both manufacturers and retailers, while providing marketing and brand management services, the release said.
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Existing Iconix business in India with brands such as Mossimo and Ed Hardy will be also be rolled into the partnership, it said.
 
“Partnering with Reliance, a company that has a dominant presence in India, one of the most compelling retail growth areas in the world, is an essential next step in our global expansion strategy,” said Neil Cole, Chairman and CEO of Iconix Brand Group.  “With this new partnership in place, and together with our existing global partnerships in other regions, we are on our way to achieving our long term goal of growing international revenue to a third of our total business.”
 
“Iconix has a very unique and interesting business and revenue model as well as an exciting portfolio of Brands. Having the ability to leverage the global strength of the Iconix portfolio of brands, and building a larger presence for them here in India, is an incredible proposition,” said Darshan Mehta, CEO of Reliance Brands Limited. ”This fits very well into Reliance Brands’ vision of creating long term value through multiple models of partnerships in the fashion and retail business.”
 
The new partnership is subject to regulatory approval, the release added.
 
Reliance Brands began operations in October 2007 with a mandate to launch and build international and domestic brand equity in the premium to luxury segment across apparel, footwear and lifestyle business. Its current portfolio of brand partnerships comprises of Diesel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hamley's, Kenneth Cole, Paul & Shark, Quiksilver, Roxy, Steve Madden and Timberland.
 
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CBI arrests head constable of RPF, Inspector and other official of ESIC in separate bribery cases

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a head constable of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Southern Railway, Chennai for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.20,000 from the proprietor of a local firm of cargo movers.

According to a press release from the CBI, a complaint was received from the businessman that the head constable, attached to the Central Railway Station, Chennai demanded a bribe of Rs. 20,000 from him for smooth dispatching of parcels to various places through wagons. He also threatened the complainant that if the bribe amount was not handed over to him, he would detain the parcels the next day onwards on security and safety grounds.
 
The release said that, based on the complaint, a case was registered against the accused under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. A trap was laid and the head constable was allegedly caught red handed while demanding and accepting the bribe Rs. 20,000 from the complainant.
 
The accused was produced before the Special Judge for CBI Cases, Chennai and was remanded to judicial custody, it said.
 
In another case, the CBI has arrested an Inspector and lower division clerk (LDC), both of Employee's State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Marol, Andheri (East), Mumbai for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.5,000 from the complainant for registration of company employees insurance.
 
A trap was laid by the CBI at the office premises of the complainant where the duo had come to collect the bribe. Both were allegedly caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.5,000 from the complainant, the release added.
 
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RIL to form JV with Sibur of Russia to produce butyl rubber in India

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Oil, gas and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had agreed to form a joint venture (JV) with Sibur, Russia and Eastern Europe's largest petrochemicals company to produce 100,000 tons of butyl rubber per year at Jamnagar in Gujarat.

The JV, named Reliance Sibur Elastomers Private Limited, will be the first manufacturer of butyl rubber in India and the fourth largest supplier of butyl rubber in the world.
 
The JV will cater to the demand for synthetic rubber from the Indian automotive industry of over 75,000 tonnes per year, which is currently satisfied by imports. Investment in the JV is in line with Reliance’s vision of emerging as a significant player in the global synthetic rubber market, a press release from the company said.
 
Reliance share in the JV will total 74.9%, while Sibur will account for 25.1%. The JV will invest $ 450 million to construct the facility, which is expected to be commissioned in mid-2014.
 
Reliance and Sibur also signed a technology licence agreement facilitating use by the JV of Sibur's proprietary butyl rubber production technology at the new production facility.
 
Sibur will develop basic engineering design for the facility and also train the JV’s personnel at its production site in Togliatti, Russia.   
 
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Bachchan says health has improved, doctors satisfied with progress

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who underwent a surgery on February 11 at the Seven Hills Hospital here after suffering from pain in the abdomen, has said that there was further improvement in his condition and that doctors also seemed satisfied with the progress he was making.

"The meetings of the morning with the team of doctors would be the most trying for the patient. As you await results of their assessment, you wonder what new discovery they may have found that would immerse you in further treatment. But happy to note that they seemed satisfied with the progress and after a few closed door discussions, came back with a few points that would bring relief to any sufferer," Bachchan, 69, said in a posting late last night on his blog.
 
"Apart from the physical pain of the surgery, there is now a reduction in most other pains. The ‘central line’ immersed in the neck is a huge bother – it being on the side of the neck – the side I sleep upon. 
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"But the period of the dressing of the wound is something one never looks forward to. Taking out the plaster that is stuck to an already abrasive skin and wounded surgery, is worse than the surgery itself. On dressing days at other visits to hospitals during this ‘illustrious’ medical career of mine, I have often asked for a maternity bed that carries two holder rings on either side, to which one can hold on to tight at time of pain, or for the women during delivery. Why that works as a remedy I have never known. The strength deployed on another location could perhaps ease the pain at the real one. I would guess, but that is debatable," he said.
 
"However, those moments passed by and since the wounds, both about 10 cm in length, had healed well, they decided to keep away from any further dressings and indeed suggested that I should attempt to shower in the morning – the water having supposedly no effect. Now that is going to be a rather large experiment chest downwards, for the neck still has the needle immersed deep and will perhaps remain so for some days. Most of the medication is being administered through there.
 
"Also there is indication of increased food intake and to get more mobile. That shall be attempted in the morrow," he said.
 
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie, and his present medical problems appear to be connected with that injury. He had been hospitalised for many months after the 1982 injury and hundreds of fans had camped outside the hospital and thousands more had prayed for him around the country. 
 
Bachchan had said on his blog, after being admitted to the hospital, that the problem he was being treated for was "a legacy of the past, in particular the accident of 1982 and Coolie".
 
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L&T, Cyan Technology to collaborate for metering infrastructure products

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Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had agreed to form a strategic partnership with United Kingdom-based Cyan Holdings to collaborate in the development, supply and delivery of advanced metering solutions comprising L&T electricity meters integrated with Cyan’s wireless communication modules for AMI, Smart Metering and Smart Grid Pilot projects. 

Both parties have identified a number of projects in India where there is a  need for 865 MHz based interoperable Wireless AMI with a requirement for end to end communications enabling remote tamper detection and reporting, a press release from L&T said. 
 
"The parties have entered into this strategic alliance as they believe that this technology is likely to become a major factor in the fast growing Indian electricity metering market," it said.
 
L&T is a leading supplier of electricity meters and metering solutions to Indian electricity 
utilities for over 15 years and has an installation base exceeding 12 million meters, the release added.
 
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Suzlon Group signs contract for upto 250 MW for French wind projects

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Wind turbine manufacturers Suzlon Group today said its subsidiary REpower Systems SE had signed a framework contract with Maïa Eolis, a subsidiary of Maïa Group and GDF Suez, for the supply of up to 250 megawatts (MW) for onshore wind farms in France.
 
The project is scheduled for delivery between 2012 and 2015, a press release from Suzlon said here. The agreement strengthens the strategic alliance started with the first contract signed in 2004, it said.
 
According to the release, the contract comprises REpower’s best-selling turbines – the MM82 and MM92 – with a nominal power of 2 MW, and the new REpower 3.4M104 and the 3.2M114 with 3.4 and 3.2 MW rated power respectively. The 3 MW series is the company’s latest onshore development for sites with medium to low wind speeds.

Kingfisher says flight cuts due to attachment of bank accounts by IT department

Kingfisher logo
Kingfisher logo

Beleaguered private sector carrier Kingfisher Airlines today said the prime reason for the current disruption in its flight schedules, which has left hundreds of passengers stranded at airports around the country in the past few days, was the sudden attachment of its bank accounts by the Income Tax department.

"This has severely affected our ability to make operational payments leading to the present curtailment. The revised schedule has been updated in the system," a spokesperson for the airline, a part of the Vijay Mallya-led UB Group, said.
 
The airline said it was in dialogue with the tax authorities to agree on a payment plan and get the bank accounts unfrozen at the earliest. 
 
"We are appealing to them to see reason that inconvenience to the travelling public is not in anybody's interests," the statement said.
 
The statement came as hundreds of passengers were stranded at different airports around the country as Kingfisher cancelled some 30 flights today. This has been happening for the past few days and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the regulator for the sector, has summoned Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal for a meeting tomorrow.
 
 The airline had three days ago said that some flights had been disrupted because of bird-hits and that it would revert to its normal schedule in four days.
 
The airline said employee salaries can be paid and the grounded aircraft can be recovered quicker once the bank accounts are unfrozen and the schedule restored on priority.
 
'About 15% of our flights operating consistently for the past 3 months have been cancelled and we have done and are doing our best to inform guests in advance of cancellations and clubbing and to re-book them on other carriers," the statement said.
 
"If the guests so desire, we are offering them a full refund," Kingfisher said.
 
"Our teams are in close touch with our travel trade partners to keep them abreast of the disruptions so that they too can, in turn, ensure that guests contacting them / booking via them are kept updated of any changes.
 
"We’ve been in touch with the DGCA to keep them informed of the disruptions. We will appear before the DGCA tomorrow and submit all details they want and also a plan to restore the full schedule," the statement said.
 
"We would like to reassure our valued guests that there are absolutely no safety issues with the aircraft that are operating," the airline said.
 
Kingfisher said it had had a "constructive" meeting with its bank consortium last week and made it clear that it had not approached the Government for any "bail out".
 
"We understand from media that certain positive decisions were taken at a recent GOM (Group of Ministers) meeting which will benefit the industry and also Kingfisher Airlines.
 
"We have adequate numbers of flight crew and cabin crew to operate our schedule of flights," the statement said.
 
"Kingfisher Airlines deeply regrets the inconvenience caused to its valued guests on account of the current disruptions," the statement added.
 
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Kingfisher denies shutting down stations, says will operate full schedule within days

Kingfisher logo
Kingfisher logo

Private sector carrier Kingfisher Airlines, which is going through a major financial crisis, today denied that it had shut any stations and made it clear that it had no intention of closing down any.

"Admittedly there have been flight disruptions since yesterday which will continue for four days due to unexpected events including bird strikes which rendered aircraft out of service. We, therefore could only operate 208 daily flights," a spokesman for the airline, a part of the Vijay Mallya-led UB group, said in a statement.
 
He said the speculative queries that the airline was reducing its operating schedule from 240 flights a day were ill-founded as it would operate the full schedule on its booking system within the next four days.
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"There have been queries on whether we have been selling low fares. We cannot possibly understand the logic or motivation behind such a question as we, ourselves, announced that we intend focussing on the full service segment where our yields are higher. This low fare question was initially attributed to Air India and it seems to be Kingfisher's turn now to respond to questions from vested interests," the spokesman said.
 
Kingfisher confirmed that its bank accounts were attached by the tax authorities. "However, this has happened in the past not just to us but also to Air India. We have resolved issues before and will do so again," the airline said.
 
The spokesman said the airline had had a "good meeting" with its consortium of banks which had accepted, in principle, the viability study prepared by SBI Capital Markets and independent consultants.
 
"Our request for additional working capital has been acknowledged by the consortium and is subject to individual bank approvals.
 
"We would appreciate it if media would present a balanced and factual picture rather than adopt a wholly negative posture against Kingfisher which, regrettably has been the case.
 
"With great respect to our friends in the media, it is not desirable to magnify or sensationalise any issue pertaining to Kingfisher Airlines," the statement added.
 
The statement came three days after the airline reported a loss of Rs 444 crore in the third quarter of 2010-11, ended December 31, 2011, which was 75 per cent higher than the loss of Rs 254 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.
 
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Bachchan's health condition shows signs of improvement

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who underwent a surgery on February 11 at the Seven Hills Hospital here after suffering from pain in the abdomen, has said that there was some improvement in his condition.
 
"There seems to be a slight, very slight, upward push to the graph on recovery, though there is still an immense amount of work to be done and observed. Your prayers seem to be working," the 69-year-old actor said on his internet blog.
 
"The fever stayed within control and a few blood readings brought a gentle smile on the faces of the medical team. A CT Scan planned to detect another nagging problem has been put off for today and shall be considered tomorrow," he said in the post made last night.
 
"My intake has been improved upon – from three sips of water per day to four sips !! Thats like a couple of teaspoons full extra!!" he added.
 
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie, and his present medical problems appear to be connected with that injury.
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On Thursday, Bachchan had tweeted on Twitter that his stay in hospital had been extended. "Going to be a long stay," he said.
 
"I have no idea now how long this will take, but it does look as though it will be long .. thank you for your prayers and love ..!!" he had said in another tweet.
 
Bachchan had been hospitalised for many months after the 1982 injury and hundreds of fans had camped outside the hospital and thousands more had prayed for him around the country. 
 
Bachchan had said on his blog, after being admitted to the hospital, that the problem he was being treated for was "a legacy of the past, in particular the accident of 1982 and Coolie".
 
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"Treatment remains, pain remains," says Bachchan after another procedure

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who underwent a surgery on February 11 here after suffering from pain in the abdomen, today provided some details about a medical procedure he underwent yesterday in hospital.
 
"The (Wednesday) night started off with great apprehensions, what with the temperature of the fever going up – always a dangerous signal. But the mercury fell during the night, or in todays terminology the digital reading in these modern contraptions, showed improvement and by the morning there was a freshness and hope of repair. 
 
"Soon after wards though, the additional pain that has developed in the abdomen, apart from the surgical, kept doctors busy and going into a huddle. When ever they do that I always surmise there is something more than normal in the patient. Heavy dosages of even more antibiotics were pumped in, and to facilitate this operation they had to wheel me in to the OT again to put a ‘central line’, through an incision on the neck," the 69-year-old actor said on his internet blog.
 
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie, and his present medical problems appear to be connected with that injury.
 
He said more doctors were called in for consultations and a second opinion. "They do not differ in the analysis of the earlier doctors .. so treatment remains, pain remains and I remain with you – my sincerest of well wishers !" he told the thousands of fans who follow his posts on the blog.
 
"Love you all … hoping tomorrow shall be a better day than today and then onwards …," he added.
 
Yesterday, Bachchan had tweeted on Twitter that his stay in hospital had been extended. "Going to be a long stay," he said.
 
"I have no idea now how long this will take, but it does look as though it will be long .. thank you for your prayers and love ..!!" he had said in another tweet.
 
Bachchan had been hospitalised for many months after the 1982 injury and hundreds of fans had camped outside the hospital and thousands more had prayed for him around the country. In 2005, he underwent bowel surgery.
 
Bachchan had said on his blog, after being admitted to the hospital, that the problem he was being treated for was "a legacy of the past, in particular the accident of 1982 and Coolie".
 
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India's foreign exchange reserves fall to $ 293.384 billion as of February 10

RBI logo
RBI logo
India's foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 369.2 million to $ 293.384 billion as of February 10 from $ 293.753 billion in the prevous week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said today in its Weekly Statistical Supplement.
 
The central bank said in the bulletin that foreign currency assets declined by $ 370.6 million to $ 259.447 billion.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies (such as Euro, Sterling, Yen) held in reserves, it said.
 
The country's gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 26.728 billion during this period, the bulletin said.
 
India's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) went up by $ 0.6 million to $ 4.475 billion in the week ended February 10, it said.
 
The country's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose marginally by $ 0.8 million to $ 2.735 billion in the period, it added.
 
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ONGC official sentenced to 3 years RI in disproportionate assets case

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The Special Judge, Mumbai, has convicted I P Shankaran, a senior official of the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the then Deputy Superintending Engineer (Civil), ONGC, LPG Plant at Raigad in Uran district of Maharashtra, for possession of disproportionate assets and sentenced him to undergo three years' rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.1 lakh. 
 
The property amounting to Rs. 23 lakh has also been ordered to be confiscated to the state, a press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said here today.
 
A case was registered in the CBI, Mumbai on December 2, 1987 against Shankaran for possession of assets valued at Rs 22.80 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income.
 
After completion of investigation, a chargesheet was filed by CBI, ACB, Mumbai against the  accused person before the Special Court, Mumbai on March 23, 1989.
 
The official was also earlier sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years with a fine of Rs.20,000 on March 17, 2009 by the Special Juge, Raigad in another CBI case which was registered for acceptance of a bribe of Rs.3.25 lakh for certifying false bills submitted by the private construction company, the release added.
 
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Bachchan's discharge from hospital delayed, he says it will be a "long stay"

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who underwent a surgery on February 11 here after suffering from pain in the abdomen, today said that his stay in hospital was going to be extended for some more time.

"Some more tests.. more unpronounceable medication ... and ... another visit to the OT .. operation theater ! Going to be a long stay," Bachchan, 69, tweeted on micro-blogging site Twitter this evening.
 
"I have no idea now how long this will take, but it does look as though it will be long .. thank you for your prayers and love ..!!" he said in another tweet.
 
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie, and his present medical problems appear to be connected with that injury.
 
He had to be hospitalised for many months at that time and hundreds of fans had camped outside the hospital and thousands more had prayed for him around the country. In 2005, he underwent bowel surgery.
 
"How times change ! During 1982 'Coolie' episode, I used to keep all your prayers under my pillow .. now .. on Twitter and Blog ..!" he said.
 
"There were many hundreds that prayed then in 1982, but were faceless and distant .. now they are with face name and 'handle' .. !!" he added.
 
Two days ago, Bachchan had said on his blog from the Seven Hills Hospital that he would not be providing more details about his condition because some fresh "medical issues" had cropped up.
 
"I seek forgiveness .. I will not be detailing any more …some fresh medical issues have come up, and I need to concentrate on the treatment now ..Love," he had said.
 
Bachchan had said on his blog, after being admitted to the hospital, that the problem he was being treated for was "a legacy of the past, in particular the accident of 1982 and Coolie".
 
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Sahara India to continue sponsorship of Indian cricket team, back in IPL

Sahara India on Thursday agreed to continue its sponsorship of the Indian cricket team and is also back in the Indian Premier League as owner of the Pune Warriors franchise, 12 days after it ended both arrangements because of disagreements with the Board of Control for Cricket in India on various issues.
 

Sahara India today agreed to continue its sponsorship of the Indian cricket team and is also back in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as owner of the Pune Warriors franchise, 12 days after it ended both arrangements because of disagreements with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on various issues.

The agreement came after extensive discussions between BCCI President N Srinivasan and Sahara India Group Chairman Subrata Roy and other officials from both sides over the past fe days.
 
"Sahara confirms that it will continue sponsorship of the Indian team. Sahara may want to exercise its right to assign the sponsorship as per the agreement," a joint statement by Srinivasan and Roy said.
 
The statement said BCCI had taken note of the various requests of Sahara and had agreed to, among other things, to extend the trading window, which was due to close on Friday 17 February, until Wednesday 29 February to give Pune Warriors India the opportunity to have successful negotiations with other franchises as it looks to strengthen its squad.
 
It also agreed to re-activation of the Auction Purse of Pune Warriors India so that it can take a number of players, subject to the squad composition regulations.
 
The two sides agreed to start the arbitration proceedings initiated by Sahara through appointment of an arbitrator to address Sahara’s claim for a reduction in franchise fee for 74 matches.
 
The statement said BCCI did not have any issues with Sahara seeking a strategic partner in the Pune Warriors India franchise, subject to terms of the Franchise Agreement.
 
 
In respect of Sahara's request to sign overseas players who were not included in the Auction Register, subject to the relevant player regulations, BCCI has agrees to the request subject to the views of all other franchisees.
 
Sahara has requested for one of the play-off matches scheduled to be played in Bangalore to be played in Pune. The right to host the play-off matches is awarded to the finalists from previous edition, in this case Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). BCCI is in principle agreeable to host one of the play-offs in the new Pune stadium subject to the consent of RCB.
 
Sahara has requested to be allowed to furnish the Bank Guarantee against the franchisee fee in two installments; BCCI will consider it at the next available opportunity.
 
Notwithstanding the recent BCCI Working Committee decision rejecting five foreign players in the playing XI, in consideration of the exceptional circumstance and the non-availability of  Yuvraj Singh, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in the United States, Sahara has offered to obtain the consent of all the franchisees for the submission to the BCCI.
 
BCCI, in line with its normal practice, will continue to engage with all franchises to find ways to enhance the competitiveness of the league and improve the fan experience, the statement said.
 
Roy and Srinivasan had met in Mumbai on February 12 in an effort to end the deadlock and the BCCI had said that the subject would be discussed further in the Board's Working Committee meeting scheduled the next day in Chennai.
 
 
Sahara had announced its decision to end its sponsorship of the Indian cricket team and its ownership of Pune Warriors on February 4, hours before the players' auction for the fifth season of the IPLwas due to begin.
 
The reason for the parting was major differences, in general, with the BCCI, which Sahara said did not believe in "genuine give and take", and, in particular, over a replacement for  Yuvraj Singh.
 
Sahara had said in a statement on February 4 that, on the basis of the fact that it had only one India marquee player, it had requested the BCCI that it should be allowed to add the price of Yuvraj Singh to its purse during that day's auction because it had later taken Saurav Ganguly at $ 0.4 million.
 
"Again, we have been denied on the basis of the rule book. Yet again, a case of being denied natural justice. We think this peculiar situation of Yuvraj Singh is silent in the rule book because it probably talks only about players who are temporarily injured. 
 
"Incidentally, once during the Champion’s League tournament, one of the Indian IPL teams had a lot of injured players so they were rightly, out of natural justice, allowed to break the rules and take one extra foreign player. We appreciated this natural justice," the statement said, referring to the BCCI decision last year to allow the Mumbai Indians to field an extra foreign player because several of its players were down with injuries.
 
Tracing its 11-year long association with Indian cricket, Sahara said the relationship was "primarily emotional".
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"...and all along, the journey was indeed, a privileged one for the entire Sahara India Pariwar. In 2001, cricket was not as rich but had become a religion in our country," it said.
 
"Now after an 11-year journey as sponsors, we can say with surety that cricket has become very rich. Many rich people are there to support cricket with a strong will to do so. So, with absolute peace of mind we can exit from cricket under BCCI and are now exiting with a heavy heart. It was an emotional decision for us to start this sponsorship but our emotions were never appreciated and many genuine situations, were not given due consideration at all," the statement had said.
 
"Our first entry into IPL was thwarted in 2008 when we were disqualified, owing to a small technicality on the whims and fancies of BCCI. Yet our bid was not opened. Last year, Sahara entered the IPL on the basis of information in the media and everywhere else that 94 matches will be played among 10 teams. The bid price was accordingly calculated, but only 74 matches were played. We are still pursuing continuously with the BCCI to refund the extra bid money proportionately. It has been denied on the basis of strict rules.
 
"In the interest of the tournament, we repeatedly tried our best to pursue the BCCI for open auction of all players so that we achieve level playing field and all teams are equally balanced from the quality players’ point of view. Again, as per BCCI’s strict rules it was denied and again, we were deprived of natural justice. 12 of the best players were retained by the existing teams then.
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"The two new teams then requested for allowing us at least one extra foreign player but that too was denied, quoting rules.
 
"Once during a World Cup tournament, Sahara’s name was not allowed because there was a clash of our airline with a South African airline. In two major tournaments, the team had to play without the ‘Sahara' logo. It was ICC’s decision so we could realize that it was for no fault of BCCI and we also did not want the players to suffer. As per the rules, we were not supposed to pay sponsorship money for those matches but we still paid the players' share of the amount in entirety. Sadly, we never found BCCI believing in genuine give and take," the statement said.
 
The statement had said that Sahara felt that such "one-sided emotional relationship" could not be dragged any further.
 
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Asahi, Shin-Ei Animation collaborate with Reliance Mediaworks on Ninja Hattori episodes

Ninja Hattori
Ninja Hattori
Japan's leading private broadcaster TV Asahi and its subsidiary Shin-ei Animation have collaborated with Reliance MediaWorks to create all-new episodes of Ninja Hattori, the comedy action animation franchise that has a strong following in India and many other Asian countries.
 
Reliance MediaWorks, a film and entertainment services company, is a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).
 
A press release from Reliance MediaWorks said Shin-ei’s experienced team of writers and directors, in collaboration with the team of 100 animators at the Reliance MediaWorks’ animation studio, is creating the new Ninja Hattori episodes in 2D-HD through a digitally mastered process. 
 
Reliance MediaWorks has also done the post-production and sound effects for the series, the release said.
 
“Being an end to end service provider helps us offer our clients with a one stop solution for their creative requirements and Ninja Hattori is an excellent showcase of our talent. Being associated with some of the top Japanese talent through Shin-Ei and TV Asahi for such a legendary show and bringing it back through digital technology has been an immensely challenging and great working experience for our animation team," Naresh Malik, COO – Creative Services of Reliance MediaWorks said, 
 
Satoshi Kaisho, producer at Shin-ei Animation said, “It is our first collaboration with any
Indian company, and also very first challenge for us to make the classic show transformed into all new digitally mastered show without losing look and feel of the original episodes. Our hope is to get Ninja Hattori out to more children all over the world."
 
Takahiro Kishimoto, producer at Programming and Entertainment Division for TV Asahi, said,  “Being one of the first Japanese companies who started marketing animation shows to India, we are glad to announce this project with the aim to explore new possibilities. We TV Asahi, together with Shin-ei Animation, are thrilled to work with Reliance MediaWorks and hope this collaboration would lead to greater things."
 
Being produced by Shin-ei Animation, original episodes of Ninja Hattori had been telecast on TV Asahi in the 1980s. In India, it has been one of the top-rated children's shows since its launch on Nick India in August 2006, and the new episodes will premiere on air on Nick India from May 2012. 
 
“Ninja Hattori has been a runaway success in India and we are sure that the new episodes will take Ninja Hattori’s popularity to newer heights in India," Anu Sikka, VP-Programming, Nick India said.
 
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